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A number of polyhedral dice made in various materials have survived from the Hellenistic and Roman periods, usually from ancient Egypt when known.
Several are in the Egyptian or Greek and Roman collections at the Museum.
He has the name of a bear and runs when he is thrown;" or, "It is the húnn in hnefatafl.
He has the name of a bear and escapes when he is attacked." The first problem is in translating the word húnn, which may refer to a die (as suggested by the former translation), the "eight horns" referring to the eight corners of a six-sided die and "the flocks" that he kills referring to the stakes the players lose.
Alternatively, húnn may refer to the king, his "eight horns" referring to the eight defenders, which is more consistent with the latter translation, "He has the name of a bear and escapes when he is attacked." but the king's objective was to escape to (variously) the board's periphery or corners, while the greater force's objective was to capture him.
Although the size of the board and the number of pieces varied, all games involved a distinctive 2:1 ratio of pieces, with the lesser side having a king-piece that started in the centre.
Another remarkable example discovered in Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt in the 1980s records an Egyptian god’s name in Demotic (the Egyptian script of these late periods) on each face.
Divination – seeking advice about the unknown from the supernatural – seems to be the most likely purpose for the Dakhleh die: the polyhedron might have been thrown in order to determine a god who might assist the practitioner.
Another cultural indication of the king is that importance of the Viking chiefs' presence in battle.Nothing specific about the use of these polyhedra is preserved, so theories are built on clues provided by some variant examples.One unusual example uses Greek words, a few of which resemble those associated with throws of the astragals (knucklebones), and this has led to suggestions they were used for games.The icosahedron – 20-sided polyhedron – is frequent.Most often each face of the die is inscribed with a number in Greek and/or Latin up to the number of faces on the polyhedron.
One riddle, as stated in Hauksbók, refers to "the weaponless maids who fight around their lord, the [brown/red] ever sheltering and the [fair/white] ever attacking him", although there is controversy over whether the word weaponless refers to the maids or, as in other versions, to the king himself, which may support the argument that a "weaponless king" cannot take part in captures (see #Balance of play).